The Asia Foundation

The Asia Foundation
Addressing the Critical Issues Facing Asia - 60 Years
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Experts Gather at Khon Kaen University for ASEAN Trade Book Launch

Khon Kaen, March 14, 2014 — On Friday, March 14, 2014, experts in ASEAN trade gathered at Khon Kaen University for a press conference to launch “Trade Facilitation and Cost of Non-Cooperation to Consumers in the ASEAN Economic Community.”

Authored by Dr. Nimnual Piewthongngam S.J.D and Prasert Vijitnopparat with support from the Foundation, “Trade Facilitation and Cost of Non-Cooperation to Consumers in the ASEAN Economic Community” highlights the current state of trade facilitation in the 10 ASEAN member states and examines the effects of non-cooperation to consumers in the ASEAN Economic Community.

Based on first-hand interviews, surveys, and economic data analysis, the authors explore the real-world consequences of trade barriers for consumers and offer recommendations on improving trade between the ASEAN members. It is found that Lao PDR and Myanmar are the two countries that highly depend on intra-trade within ASEAN, around 63% and 40%, respectively. Among Thailand, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Vietnam, the top three highest intra-trade growth (2001-2010) countries are Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand with the growth of 35.15, 29.04, and 28.49 respectively.

The share of international trade with countries outside ASEAN are declining for these countries. Though working toward trade improvement, Myanmar and Cambodia customer clearing process take longer time than other countries. Among the main obstacles for trade facilitation are lack of uniform processes and systems among countries, irregular and inconsistency custom procedures, poor quality of infrastructure, different traffic systems, lack of competition in logistic services, and lack of well-trained custom authorities. The authors estimate a reduction in trade barriers would lead to a regional GDP increase of 0.09% to 2.66% along with reduction in import price.

Recommendations for lifting barriers include: creating official training and capacity building programs for officers involved in trade facilitation; establishing institutional reform; improving infrastructure; encouraging greater competition among logistics providers; and encouraging the establishment of industrial cluster across regional production zones.

Read more about the Foundation and its programs in Economic Development.

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